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Canucks and Beyond

The President’s Trophy: Good or Bad?

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and I’m going to say that the Vancouver Canucks will not make it out of the first round… no matter who they play.”


—Theo Fleury
Sportsnet Radio FAN 960

He then goes on to qualify this statement by expressing concerns about Canucks’ goaltending. 

And then this:

 

“Most teams that finish first overall in the NHL have not gone on to have a whole lot of success.  It’s usually that team that’s fighting tooth and nail to get into that eighth spot and once they get to the playoffs, they’re flying high and feeling really good about themselves.”

I’m not sure how Fleury defines “success,” but since 1986, the President’s Trophy winner has gone on to play in the Stanley Cup Final nine times. That’s a 36% chance of making it into the final series.  And 7 out of those 9 times, they went on to win the Cup.

All due respect to Fleury—and I’m always a big fan of the underdog team that battles hard to get a spot in the playoffs—but I’ll take the odds of going into the post-season in 1st place over 8th place, anytime.

 

Filed in: vancouver canucks, | Canucks and Beyond | Permalink
  Tags: president's+trophy, theo+fleury, vancouver+canucks

Comments

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Goaltending is a real dumb excuse to find for his statement. Luongo has often ended playoff series poorly in the past, but this season he has a new coach, played fewer games, better defense, more power up front, and a backup that’s hungry.

Posted by NathanBC on 03/25/11 at 03:44 PM ET

Yankee Canuck's avatar

I’m not certain Theo can read. Otherwise he could check Luongo’s stats this year, see how they’re using Schneider and at least pretend to understand this isn’t like the past few seasons.

He could also read what Mike Chen wrote which echoes what Alanah said above about the President’s Trophy.

Better still, what happens if the Canucks do make it out of the first round? Will Fan 960 move the same rock they found Theo under to begin with and ask him for a follow-up? And will as few people care about his opinion then as they do now?

Posted by Yankee Canuck on 03/25/11 at 03:56 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Posted by PuckHound61 from Speckville USA on 03/25/11 at 01:39 PM ET

Just hope Chicago doesn’t fall to 8th…

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 03/25/11 at 03:57 PM ET

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The telling stat is only 36% of the time the President’s Cup winner makes it to the final. That means you have only a 1 in 3 chance of making it. Not very good odds or a reward for being number one after 82 games.

Last year’s P Cup winner….swept by the Blackhawks.

I wish the Nuks luck but the odds are against them.

Posted by Frank from Chicago on 03/25/11 at 04:14 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I’m not sure how Fleury defines “success,” but since 1986, the President’s Trophy winner has gone on to play in the Stanley Cup Final nine times. That’s a 36% chance of making it into the final series.  And 7 out of those 9 times, they went on to win the Cup.

To use the line that Mark Twin attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, there are lies, damned lies and statistics.

Nice spin on the statistics; I’m sure you have a great future in politics.

The President’s Trophy has been awarded 25 times. Of those 25 PT winners, only 7 have won the Stanley Cup. By my math, that is 28% of the time.

10 of 25 times, the PT winner did not even make the Conference Finals. That means 40% of the time, the PT winner loses in the first or second round.

Enjoy that President’s Trophy ‘nucks fans, odds are it will be the only hardware your team touches this year.

As for Luongo, until his name is engraved on Lord Stanley’s chalice, he’s just the next Cujo. You remember Cujo, right? The greatest money goalie in the history of the regular season.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/25/11 at 04:21 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

In the five seasons since the lockout, The President’s Trophy winner has lost in the first round 3 times, lost in the conference final once and won the Cup once. So in a post-lockout, salary-cap parity league, the PT winner’s odds of winning the Cup are even worse. Your PT winning team is three times more likely to lose in the first round than it is to win the Cup.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/25/11 at 04:27 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Captain…   I wasn’t looking to do any trickery with the stats. What I stated was accurate:  I said 9/25 times equals 36%, which it does. If you look at my sentence, I said 36% of the time they made it to the final series, not that they won the Cup.  I also noted that they won it 7/25. 

And yes, people can still say after all that, “Oh, but they ONLY won it 28 % of the time.” but those would be better odds than either conference’s 8th place team has gone on to win it in the last 25 years, no?

Anyway, not looking to argue, just wanted to clarify my point in case you misunderstood me. smile

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 03/25/11 at 04:35 PM ET

Avatar

not worried about the Hawks in the least, Turco will be lit up in the playoffs anyways, he has taken Dallas how far in the past?

Posted by PuckHound61

Turco’s only playoff duties will be opening & closing the bench door.

Posted by mc keeper on 03/25/11 at 04:35 PM ET

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Posted by Frank from Chicago on 03/25/11 at 02:14 PM ET
Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from Warm and sunny SoCal on 03/25/11 at 02:21 PM ET

Odds from all major North American sports said the Penguins wouldn’t win the Cup in game 7 on the road.

Odds are odds, they’re statistics, they aren’t two teams playing hockey for the player’s ultimate career goal.

Posted by NathanBC on 03/25/11 at 04:36 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Weren’t the Pens the first team to win a Cup even though they weren’t a top 2-seed in over 10 years?
I thought I heard that somewhere. That the Cup winner over the past decade has always been a top-2 seed.
Could be wrong and I’m way too lazy to look that up right now, lol.

Posted by Hank1974 on 03/25/11 at 05:05 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Just did some quick research.
Since 1995, only 4 teams have won the cup and weren’t seeded in the top-2 of their conferences;
‘95 - Devils
‘97 - Wings
‘00 - Devils
‘09 - Pens.

So it does seem to pay to be near the top or win the President’s Trophy.

Posted by Hank1974 on 03/25/11 at 05:08 PM ET

BetterThanYou's avatar

not worried about the Hawks in the least, Turco will be lit up in the playoffs anyways, he has taken Dallas how far in the past?

Posted by PuckHound61 from Speckville USA on 03/25/11 at 02:18 PM ET

Turco has taken Dallas to the conference finals which is further than the Canucks have gone recently.

And I would be worried about playing Chicago for 2 reasons:

1. They are the defending champs
2. They own Vancouver

Posted by BetterThanYou on 03/25/11 at 05:09 PM ET

Krononymous's avatar

I think the point is not winning the President’s Trophy as much as “how” a team wins the President’s Trophy.  I think you have to be concerned when a team runs away with the thing because there is an element of complacency.  While Vancouver has been in front for a long time, they have had some adversity, at least in the form of injuries.  If I were a Canucks fan, I’d be a little concerned with some of the comments coming out of the dressing room and from the Canadian press.  There seems to be a feeling that they’ve already earned a SCF berth by virtue of their regular season performance.  Fleury might not be the deepest of thinkers but he does have a point.

Posted by Krononymous on 03/25/11 at 05:11 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Marty Turco’s not playing in the playoffs this year.  Corey Crawford stole that job from him.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 03/25/11 at 05:22 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Captain…  I wasn’t looking to do any trickery with the stats. What I stated was accurate:  I said 9/25 times equals 36%, which it does. If you look at my sentence, I said 36% of the time they made it to the final series, not that they won the Cup.  I also noted that they won it 7/25. 
And yes, people can still say after all that, “Oh, but they ONLY won it 28 % of the time.” but those would be better odds than either conference’s 8th place team has gone on to win it in the last 25 years, no?
Anyway, not looking to argue, just wanted to clarify my point in case you misunderstood me. 
Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 03/25/11 at 02:35 PM ET

I’m sorry, I meant to convey admiration, because what you typed was accurate, but at the same time, deceptive. That’s why Twain’s remark resonates so well with today’s numbers obsessed society.

I didn’t run the numbers for the other 15 playoff seedings, but my guess is that 28% for the #1 seed PT winner is probably the highest winning percentage of any of the 16 teams. To compare winning %‘s one can’t just look at conference seeds because there are two #2 seeds and only one PT winner.

PT winner odds look a whole lot better when you say of 16 playoff teams each year, the PT winner wins the Cup 28% of the time and the other 15 teams win the remaining 72% of the time. While, if there was an even distribution of Cup winners across the 16 positions, each position would win 6.25% of the time. Yet the PT winner wins 28% of the time.

That being said, I think the post-lockout numbers are more accurate of what we can expect in the future due to the salary cap. The cap has forced parity and detroyed depth so the odds of the PT winner winning the Cup will continue to decline.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/25/11 at 05:23 PM ET

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I was just going to post more or less exactly what CaptainDennisPolonich just said.

I think the idea that the President’s Trophy is a somehow a bad thing to have (an idea that gets recycled every year) is utter rubbish. 28 percent against the field is a phenomenal track record when you consider that, every year, 15 out of 16 championship bids ultimately end in failure.

That being said, the dominance of top seeds is becoming severely challenged in the wake of salary-cap parity. In 2006, only ONE playoff matchup in the entire Western Conference went to the favored team (No. 6 Anaheim over No. 7 Colorado in the second round). A fifth seed (Dallas) and sixth seed (Philadelphia) made the conference finals in 2008. A sixth seed (Carolina) made it that far in 2009. And of course, last year brought us the improbable seven-versus-eight drama of Philly-Montreal. I do believe that, within the next few years, a seventh or eighth seed will win the Cup.

Will Vancouver win the Cup this year? Probably not. But you can say that about every team—I don’t think anybody has a better than 1-in-5 shot. I’d still take the Canucks over any other single team, though.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 03/25/11 at 06:14 PM ET

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First thing, I am willing to take an even money bet that Vancouver wins the 1st round.  Most bookmakers would do the same thing and they make a living evaluating team’s chances.

Second thing, there is no question that Vancouver is a better team this year than last (assuming nothing changes on the injury front) and Chicago is a worse team this year than last.  Vancouver would love to play Chicago again this spring for redemption, especially this year they have a stronger team.

Posted by Kel on 03/25/11 at 06:40 PM ET

blammo's avatar

Since ‘86 here are the league standings for your Stanley Cup winners:

9th = 1 (New Jersey ‘95)

8th = 1 (Pittsburgh ‘09)

7th = 2 (Montreal ‘86, Pittsburgh, ‘91)

6th = 2 (Pittsurgh ‘92, Montreal ‘93)

5th = 2 (Edmonton ‘90, Detroit ‘97)

4th = 2 (New Jersey ‘00, New Jersey ‘03)

3rd = 6 (Edmonton ‘88, Colorado ‘96, Detroit ‘98, New Jersey ‘04, Carolina ‘06, Anaheim ‘07, Chicago ‘10)

2nd = 1 (Tampa Bay)

1st = 7 (Edmonton ‘87, Calgary ‘89, New York ‘94, Dallas ‘99, Colorado ‘01, Detroit ‘02, Detroit ‘08)

Apparently, you *do* want to finish first. It gives you the statistically best chance of winning the Cup.

The Canucks may only have about a 20% chance of winning but they have the best chance vs any other individual team. That is all you can hope for going in the the SCP.

BTW, is Fleury flogging another book?

Posted by blammo from Vancouver, BC on 03/25/11 at 10:07 PM ET

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About Canucks and Beyond

Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.

In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.

So that's me. Who the hell are you? smile

Email: am@kuklaskorner.com

Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]